Friday, March 5, 2021

Investment Value vs. Utility Value

I have written a fair bit about the utility value of your home and how that is more important for most people than the investment value. I dedicated a chapter of my 2010 book, "Don't Panic" to this idea. There are still a great number of people that tend to put too much emphasis on the investment value of a home they plan to live in. 

Part of the allure of home ownership versus renting is the investment potential. This should not be overlooked, however the primary purpose of your personal residence is utility. You own or rent a home primarily to provide shelter and safety for you and your family as well as a sense of personal place. This should supersede the investment potential of the property. 

I do recommend buyers consider the investment value as part of the equation, but not the primary driver. Nearly every home in any given region will have similar investment potential. There are some locations and or other external facts that can make one property a better investment potential as far as appreciation in concerned. But buyers of a personal residence rarely take advantage of the investment opportunity of their home. They tend to make the home their own to their personal taste rather than the neutral taste of the broad market. they tend not to rent out surplus space in the house. Yet investment value or potential is often something they stake a disproportionate level of concern over when buying the home.

Buyers should buy the house they can afford that offers the best living situation for those that will live in it. As a Realtor® I will take great care in checking the surrounding area for potential detrimental external problems, noise, crime, new development, proximity to essential services, etc. But in the end and short of a compelling external factor, the best home is the home one can afford that provides the best location, floor plan, proximity, and general utility for the buyer.

There are a few trends in real estate surrounding new homes. When buying a new home it is often sound advice to try and buy a house in an early phase preferably phase 1. The reason for this is that developers almost always raise prices in each new phase of development so buyers in the first phase have a quick uptick in value as comparable homes sold just a month or two later might be 5% or 10% more expensive. Barring a significant downtown in pricing, buying at the final phase of development is generally not a great idea. That said, if the house is right, the price makes sense and it's a good fit for you and your family, buy it!  

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